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Superior turbinate pneumatization in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis: Prevalence on paranasal sinus CT

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September 26, 2008
by Seth J. Kanowitz, MD, Annette O. Nusbaum, MD, Joseph B. Jacobs, MD, and Richard A. Lebowitz, MD


With the availability of high-resolution computed tomography (CT), a great deal of attention has been paid to the anatomy of the paranasal sinuses. But while investigators have focused on the osteomeatal complex and its relation to chronic rhinosinusitis, there has been little discussion of the superior turbinate. Although a few anatomic studies have tried to quantify pneumatization of the superior turbinate, the prevalence of this finding on radiography is not well addressed in the literature. We prospectively studied 100 consecutively presenting patients who underwent coronal CT of the paranasal sinuses (200 sides) for the evaluation of symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis at an academic tertiary referral center to determine the prevalence of pneumatization of the superior turbinate. We found evidence of pneumatization in 44 of the 200 sides, for a prevalence of 22%. In all, pneumatized superior turbinates were found in 27 patients (27%)—bilaterally in 17 (17%) and unilaterally in 10 (10%).

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